Why these Virginia representatives toured an often-delayed Richmond-area USPS hub

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Posted at 11:41 PM, Mar 22, 2024

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- It’s a visit that followed months of requests by lawmakers for transparency from the United States Postal Service.

“I think it's valuable for us to come in and see the real circumstances,” said Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan.

After receiving hundreds of complaintsfrom people about delayed or missing mail across the state, McClellan and Congressman Rob Wittman were given a tour of the USPS Sandston Distribution Center.

“When we first started, we had a brief, and the brief included the metrics, the numbers, the graphics, which we never got before,” Wittman said. “So it's very telling to watch what happened when the delivery rates were here on time delivery rates were here, and then it dropped off.”

They say they were shown the new systems and equipment that were put into place in July 2023, which USPS says are the major reason for many of the delays.

“They put in place a large number of pieces of new equipment, automated equipment, and that's great. But the problem is when you put it into that scale, and it breaks down, then you have big problems,” McClellan said.

USPS told them they were adjusting to changes along with losing their main supplier for mail trucks.

“They're recovering from that, they're getting back to a much better percentage of on-time delivery for first class mail, and for what we call bulk mail, they still have a ways to go,” Wittman said.

Both say they hope this level of transparency continues.

“We're hoping this is the beginning of a dialogue, we've asked to see some of their metrics and continue to be in touch to make sure those metrics are going in the right direction,” McClellan said.

As far as the next steps, both McClellan and Wittman say they plan to make future visits to the Sandston facility as well as continue open dialogue. they also say they will continue to push USPS to come to their office and address the community directly.

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